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Irish FA grants extension of 2019-20 Irish League season until 31 July

Crusaders Match Preview
Uploaded Monday, 31st Dec, 2018 at 12:28

BALLYMENA United travel to Seaview on New Years Day to face Crusaders in their fourth meeting of the season.
The last time the sides met was in the BetMcLean League Cup semi-final at Seaview in December, United winning 1-0 with a goal from Leroy Millar in the 68th minute, securing a final spot where they will face Linfield in February.
Recent results v Crusaders (all league unless stated):
Crusaders 0-1 Ballymena United, Seaview, 11th December 2018. (BetMcLean League Cup Semi-Final)
Ballymena United 3-0 Crusaders, Ballymena Showgrounds, 27th October 2018. Att: 1275
Crusaders 2-2 Ballymena United, Seaview, 11th August 2018. Att: 1224
Ballymena United 1-2 Crusaders, Ballymena Showgrounds, 28th April 2018. Att: 2430
Crusaders 3-1 Ballymena United, Seaview, 24th February 2018. Att: 1147
Ballymena United 2-4 Crusaders, Ballymena Showgrounds, 23rd January 2018. (Toals Co Antrim Shield Final)
Crusaders 2-1 Ballymena United, Seaview, 22nd December 2017. Att: 1479
Ballymena United 1-4 Crusaders, Ballymena Showgrounds, 11th August 2017. Att: 1840
After their defeat to United in the BetMcLean League Cup semi-final in December, the Crues have beaten Dungannon Swifts 1-0 at home, Warrenpoint Town 3-1 at home, Cliftonville 5-1 on Boxing Day away from home and Glentoran on Saturday 1-0 with a late penalty from David Cushley.

This moved them up the table to third place, 3 points behind Linfield and 2 ahead of Glenavon, although they have played an extra game than all the teams in the top 7. They also await the winners of the Toals Co Antrim Shield semi-final between United and Linfield.
Ballymena United:
Now 19 games unbeaten in a row, with just 2 draws along the way, United top the Danske Bank Premiership table by 2 points and have already passed last seasons points total, showing great character to come from 3-1 down to grab a draw against Coleraine on Boxing Day.

The Sky Blues go into this game knowing it'll be a real test of their character against a resurgent Crusaders, but if they can keep it tight at the back they can beat the North Belfast side.
Tickets are required for this game - please read here for more information.
Away Fans Transport:
Seven Towers Ballymena United Supporters Club bus leaves Henry Street Car Park at 1:45pm.
Match Officials:
Referee: Ian McNabb. Assistant 1: Stephen Donaldson. Assistant 2: Gavin Hegarty. 4th Official: Steven Gregg.
Match Information:
Admittance is by ticket only, and Ballymena United will enter via the Shore Road turnstiles.

Kick off is 3:00pm.
The Braidmen will be hoping to get 2019 off to a start with a win, with David Jeffrey insisting that rest and recovery will be vital for the players ahead of their trip to Belfast. Crusaders always give United a tough task and we will need to be at our best to come away with the points so make your way to Seaview and be loud and proud in support of YOUR team - Come On Sky Blues!
Match Preview by Paul Irwin